Web of Venom: Empyre’s End is out this week from Clay McLeod Chapman and Guiu Villanova to show us how close Knull is to Earth. Announced back in July, Web of Venom: Empyre’s End is out this week to link the summer event of the year to the winter event King in Black. As an extra-sized issue, this new book is a horror story in space you won’t want to miss if you’re an Alien fan.
This one-shot is a good idea that has even better execution. It’s a bridge of sorts for fans of Empyre who are awaiting King in Black as it features Kree and Skrull working together to determine what threat is looming in outer space. There is a horrible darkness on its way to Earth and it takes the form of Symbiotes. Chapman does an excellent job slowly unveiling this cosmic threat at a semi-micro level for a crew of Kree and Skrull who aren’t yet aware of Knull’s presence in the universe. Forget Knull and Symbiotes, reading this book is scary and truly disturbing as these characters attempt to keep their lives.
Villanova and color artist Frank D’Armata are big reasons why this book is so haunting and scary. The Symbiotes in this book are without hosts and instead goopy shadows that are fast and ruthless. Seeing them do their work inside the spaceship is quite cool, with tight hallways made all the more frightening due to the tendrils of Symbiotes chasing their prey. Outside the ship, they are just as disturbing to look at as they take different forms and consume entire planets.
You will certainly see homages to Alien in this work, but in a lot of ways, this creature is far more frightening than any Symbiote. Seeing the Venom eyes on them does take things down a notch — younger readers will likely find some solace in that, but make no mistake, this book is scary in many different visual ways.
Since much of this book reads like a good scary spaceship story, it’s quite easy to pick up and enjoy. The idea of a haunted house or haunted alien spacecraft is certainly captured here. One might say it loosely connects to Empyre, though it’s nice to see the cosmic side of the Marvel universe get some flavor outside the use of any Avenger or mainline character.
For casual horror fans or those looking for greater meaning in one-shots, this book serves as a taste tester. You get to see what Knull and his Symbiotes can do, how quickly they can move, and how dangerous they are. More than once I pondered how Captain America might get out of similar situations the characters are put into in this issue and it’s quite obvious they will be outmatched. That’s exciting, as this issue raises the stakes with the first stab at Knull’s eventual arrival and how much damage he can do on Earth.
Web of Venom: Empyre’s End is a good connecting story between Empyre and King in Back, but it’s an even better space horror. If you have any doubt how dangerous Symbiotes are, simply pick up this comic and see Earth and its heroes are in big trouble.
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